DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO COMMUNICATE?
Do you have what it takes to communicate? Communication is important to our relationships, our advancement, and our growth. I recently learned communication is one of the top five most desirable skills preferred by employers! With this information, it is understandable the importance for women leaders and influencers to continually develop their communication skills.
Whether you are leading your organization, a team of volunteers, a women’s ministry, or your family, communication skills are essential to your success because communication enables you to connect with people. So, how are you communicating?“You are always communicating. Everything you do says something about who you are and your relationship to God.” Linda Clark, 5 Leadership Essentials for Women. Click To Tweet
In many instances, we communicate before we speak a word through our body language, our attire, or our posture. Think of a time a friend or family member walked into the room, and you immediately knew something was wrong or amiss. We lead and influence through numerous behaviors, but it is our verbal and nonverbal communication that is most telling. Which is one reason why we can give our children a look, and they know we mean business. Any moms out there agree?
Do you Hinder Your Message?
Influential leaders may be articulate, strong orators but their dress, voice pitch, or behavior may hinder their message to their followers. Our attire may obstruct our message because our dress diverts the listener’s attention or perhaps our hand gestures are distracting. In either case, it’s beneficial we understand and improve our communication skills to prepare for our leadership roles, personally and professionally.
When my sons were younger, I could offer a verbal warning (and a look) if I were concerned they were playing too rough, and they would tone it down. However, if I offered a verbal warning with a huge grin and a nonchalant demeanor, I’m not sure they would have taken my verbal warning serious. My nonverbal would override my verbal, which is something to consider when we are leading others.
Natural Communication Skills vs. Learned Communication Skills
We all have the ability to improve our communication skills. An example of a great female leader who sought to continually develop her communication skills is Margaret Thatcher. It is said the former Prime Minister of Britain was not born with natural leadership skills or speaking abilities. Aware of her weaknesses, she took public speaking classes to improve her communication skills. Thatcher understood the significant impact her speaking skills would have on her ability to influence her followers and her career. She worked hard to improve her voice pitch and knew the importance of her dress and her posture when speaking.
Margaret Thatcher became one of the most influential leaders of Britain due to her powerful, authentic, and persuasive communication skills. Can you think of another female leader who developed powerful communication skills?
Communication and Conflict Management
Skilled communicators are adept at managing conflict. The ability to listen and reason coupled with emotional awareness increases the opportunity to handle conflict in a meaningful way. When conflict management is handled well, our relationships improve.
An example of a gifted communicator exhibiting strong conflict management skills is Abigail. Here’s the short story,
Abigail was married to Nabal, a wealthy but rude man. Nabal had insulted King David; therefore, King David planned to retaliate by destroying Nabal and his military. Upon hearing their fate, the servants share the dire situation with Abigail (I guess they knew who was wise enough to handle the matter and it wasn’t Nabal. The translation of Nabal is fool.)
Abigail quickly decides to meet with King David and successfully diffuses the issue (excellent conflict resolution skills). After meeting with David, she returns home to find her husband in a bad way, so she waits. Abigail again shows her resolve and wisdom in her decision to postpone a discussion with Nabal. I’m not sure what I would have done in this situation. I hear my husband has offended the King and we are all doomed. I gather gifts and provisions, jump on a donkey and ride out to meet them, all 400 of them. I fall on my knees and by God’s grace, save my people. I jump back on my donkey to return home to find my husband intoxicated. Talk about a challenging day! And what does Abigail do? She waits until it’s the right time.
Conflict management involves strong listening skills, remaining open, and waiting for the right time to respond. It is not about reacting. It’s about emotional awareness, which promotes healthy conflict resolution. Abigail exemplified healthy conflict resolution skills through her strong communication skills and her servant’s heart.“They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.” Titus 3:2 (NLT) Click To Tweet
Christian Women Leaders Needed
Recent studies indicate women leaders are advancing at a slower pace. It is believed this is due to the difficulty women have communicating their accomplishments. The studies recommended specific communication essentials women need to adapt to project confidence such as owning their voice, controlling movement, and being succinct when speaking. I addressed the importance of owning your voice in a recent blog post, Do You Own Your Voice?“As women, we are called to encourage, equip, and empower one another. I can’t think of a better way to support one another than through our words, using our power and influence to better one another.” Robin Revis Pyke, Ph.D. Click To Tweet
Let’s continue to place a priority on the development our communication skills, building up one another as we are called to do. So, do you have what it takes to communicate?
“The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng.” Psalm 68:11 (NIV)